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Not your average bride

alternative brideNo longer is there a 'one look suits all' approach to bridal hair and beauty. For some women, their big day is more about expressing their own inimitable individuality, from the shoes on their feet, to how they style their hair. We spoke to the woman behind this alternative bridal collection, Annette Bradford, owner of Elegance Bridal Coiffure, in Waterlooville. Photography throughout by Lisa Gigante.

The steampunk concept

Steampunk is a genre that takes the clothes, etiquette and the technology of Victorian times and brings it into the 21st century. Across the world there are annual events celebrating the sci-fi genre, and it was this that inspired Annette Bradford, and photographer Lisa Gigante, to create such a whimsical bridal story.

"The concept of this shoot was to show that brides can have alternative looks and themes. This shows real steam punk the way the photographer (Lisa) visualised it. It’s all about recycling jewellery, clothes and being original. It was great fun to work on because I could really let the artistry flow through. It’s wild, pretty, and outrageous – anything and everything goes together!" says Annette.

Annette says that she is noticing many more brides are taking a different approach when it comes to their look on the big day. "Brides are wanting more bespoke styles. Most have themes that dictate their styling. It’s fabulous to be able to create unusual, artistic looks and really set your creativity loose."

Timeless styles

Although many brides are looking for new ways to express their individuality, Annette says there are still some looks that will stand the test of time. "For me, the most timeless styles are the classic French pleat – think Audrey Hepburn – and an ornate bun of curls, be it on the top of head or at the nape of neck.

When it comes to the makeup, the majority of brides just want a natural look that makes the most of their eyes. I tend to use natural shadow colours only to enhance, then some fine eyeliner and application of temporary cluster lashes.

Then there are the brides who prefer a slightly more glamorous look, such as a classic, thicker eyeliner, with flicks and red lipstick. Again I tend to use cluster lashes to enhance the eyes."

Giving your best

When it comes to your bridal clients, it’s important to pay attention, says Annette.

"I personally like to give the bride my full support; anything to ease any stresses she might have. It’s about making her feel comfortable: offering a one to one service is key, and means you have plenty of time to discuss everything that the bride has been dreaming about.

If the bride can’t describe her style, I ask her to draw the shape of style she likes, and sometimes I will draw things to show her what I’m thinking would suit her face shape and complexion. Some brides have a fixed style in their mind; remember, this still needs to suit her and her dress. If I don’t think it will work or their hair is too fine/too short I’ll advise on what might be a better look. I will show the bride the style she’s after and take photographs so she can see the resulting look, then I will ask her if I may show her what I think might look better/suit better. This is where we bring the two styles together to create something more bespoke, and perfectly suited to the bride."

steam punk brides

First published in the Capital Hair & Beauty magazine.